Questions and Answers
Achilles tendon pain symptoms
Achilles tendonitis and tendinosis can result in the following symptoms:
- Achilles tendon pain: Stiffness, aching, tenderness, or soreness in the tendon. This may be felt anywhere along the path of the tendon, from where it attaches above the heel to just below the muscle of the calf. Often Achilles tendon pain first appears in the morning upon arising or following periods of rest, it then somewhat improves with movement, but later it worsens again with activity.
- Tenderness or intense pain: This Achilles tendon pain is located on the sides of the tendon when they are squeezed, and there is less pain when pressure is applied directly over the back of the Achilles tendon.
- Tendocalcaneal bursitis: This usually begins with irritation and Achilles tendon pain located in the back portion of the heel. Swelling and redness may be visible in and around the area. The back of a person's shoe may make the Achilles tendon pain unbearable, making it necessary to wear sandals or clogs.
If the Achilles tendon ruptures, people typically usually know something has happened. Sometimes people even hear the tendon snap, and the Achilles tendon pain of a rupture has been described by some as having been kicked violently in the calf. In addition, a ruptured Achilles tendon may cause swelling and the inability to rise up on the toes.
Achilles tendon pain causes
We do not know exactly why some people experience Achilles tendon pain, and other people do not. Part of the problem may be because of alterations in the way the foot and leg are aligned. Any person who has one leg that is shorter than their other leg is at higher risk of Achilles tendon pain and problems.
In athletes, suddenly increasing the training regimen may be a key factor in Achilles tendon pain. Runners sometimes increase distance or add hill training to their regimen, and other athletes intensify their training. Other risk factors for Achilles tendon pain include diabetes and other endocrine diseases, obesity, exposure to steroids or fluoroquinolones (antibiotics), and aging.
Inflammation of the bursa may occur with paratendonitis. One simple cause of this type of Achilles tendon pain may be wearing shoes that do not fit. As a result, they rub on the bursa or the tendon. Achilles tendon pain may also occur due to repeated stress and overuse.
Tendons can degenerate as we age and cause Achilles tendon pain. Degeneration is a term that refers to the normal process of breakdown caused by use or "wear and tear." These changes occur in the tendon as we age and can make the tendon weak.
The tendon attempts to heal itself, and in the process of healing, scar tissue forms, making the tendon thicker than normal. A nodule can form inside the tendon due to scar tissue. When degeneration occurs, but no inflammation of the tissues is present, the condition is known as tendinosis. This area affected by tendonitis is weaker than a healthy, normal tendon. Tiny tears are more likely to occur in these areas, especially with stress and overuse. Achilles tendon pain is more likely to occur, as well as a rupture of the tendon in a tendon affected by tendonitis.Show Less